Santa Fe City Council Committee Considers Leaving the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities
Weighing whether to remain in or withdraw from the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, members of the City of Santa Fe Quality of Life Committee decided to ask for additional information, including information requested during similar meetings last summer and fall. The question presented on Wednesday evening was whether to approve a restated and amended Joint Powers Agreement establishing the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kPovX3O3us (Discussion begins at 35:21); supporting materials here. SFCC Quality of Life RCLC JPA 3-17-21 It is scheduled to go before the full City Council on Wednesday, March 31st, but may be delayed.
The controversial Coalition formed in 2011 with the signing of the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA). It is a coalition of communities and Pueblos in Northern New Mexico, comprised of the City of Española, Rio Arriba County, Los Alamos County, the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, the Town of Taos, Taos County, and the sovereign nations of Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh and the Pueblo of Jemez. https://regionalcoalitionnm.org/
Los Alamos County Councilor and Coalition treasurer, David Izraelevitz stated the Coalition has two focus areas, which are regional community and economic development and environmental remediation, or cleanup. See Powerpoint beginning on p. 13 of SFCC Quality of Life RCLC JPA 3-17-21.pdf. SFCC Quality of Life RCLC JPA 3-17-21
Recently, the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County each passed resolutions in support of a new site-wide environmental statement and in opposition to proposed expanded pit production. SFCC 2021 LANL SWEIS Request Resolution and Resolution_2021-011-p0001_-_p0005. Councilor Renee Villarreal asked how those resolutions are incorporated into the Coalition’s work. Izraelevitz said that the Coalition has steered away from such issues and focuses on cleanup.
Economics and politics lack clear boundaries in the organization. For example, the current Coalition chair, Henry Roybal, also serves as chair of the Santa Fe County Board of County Commissioners, and is a LANL employee. Commissioner Henry BIO-1 And as another example, annual dues vary between $3,500 and $60,000, as is the case of Los Alamos County. Santa Fe pays $10,000 a year.
Even so, the Coalition has a black eye because the New Mexico State Auditor found over $51,000 in improper spending over four years. NM_OSA_FY_2018_Annual_Report. See P. 37 -38.
At LANL’s request, the University of New Mexico Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) prepared a report about economic impacts in Northern New Mexico. UNMBBER_LANLImpactAnalysis_Revised_101419 It found that LANL does not create economic benefits in surrounding counties. In fact, the report concluded that LANL’s presence creates a net economic loss in Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos Counties, finding that Santa Fe County lost over $2.2 million, while Rio Arriba County lost over $2.6 million. Yet Los Alamos County gained $13.6 million. “Inequities Edited Out of Los Alamos National Lab Study,” Rio Grande Sun, by Molly Montgomery, June 26, 2020. http://www.riograndesun.com/news/inequities-edited-out-of-los-alamos-national-lab-study/article_ea042414-b7f8-11ea-ada6-a7134ccaff97.html
1. Every Friday and Saturday from noon to 1 pm – Protest LANL signing a 10-year lease (for the former Descartes building) to establish itself in Santa Fe at the corner of Guadalupe and W. Alameda. JOIN US! We’ll have banners. Please bring a sign.
2. Ongoing – Washington-Marshall Islands Nuclear Remembrance Week: We Are Not Alone. Thurs. March 18th through 19th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm MST and Sat. March 20th from 2:30 – 5:30 pm MST. This week of virtual events commemorate Marshallese nuclear legacy, highlighting the Spokane Marshallese community, and bringing together frontline communities from across Washington state and the country. For more information and to register, go to https://www.cann-wa.us/our-work
3. Monday, March 29th – EPA granted a four-week extension of time to provide comments about LANL industrial wastewater discharge permit. CCNS is preparing comments in response to Triad National Security, LLC’s comments submitted on March 1, 2021. Stay tuned for sample public comments you can use, as we get closer to the deadline. https://www.epa.gov/nm/los-alamos-national-laboratory-lanl-limited-reopening-public-comment-period-npdes-permit-no
Tags: BBER, City of Santa Fe Quality of Life Committee, Councilor Renee Villarreal, David Izraelevitz, expanded plutonium pit production, Henry Roybal, Joint Powers Agreement, LANL, Los Alamos County, Los Alamos County Councilor, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico State Auditor, RCLC, Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, Rio Arriba County, Rio Grande Sun, Santa Fe County, site-wide environmental impact statement, Taos County, University of New Mexico, UNM Bureau of Business and Economic Research